There’s a toxic ingredient in one of the most popular toothpaste brands on the market. It’s already been banned in other products here in the U.S., yet you could still be ingesting it each time you brush your teeth! And this brand of toothpaste is so popular, it used to be my preferred brand before I started looking into chemicals in personal care products that affect health. The chemical in question is triclosan, and 200 experts just agreed that it’s hazardous to our health and the environment. We’ve covered how endocrine disrupting chemicals are costing Americans over $340 BILLION per year in health care expenses, this post is a clear example of a product that falls within that category. What product are we referring to? Colgate Total toothpaste, which has an endocrine disrupting chemical inside that is being banned in other products but is still allowable in toothpaste. That chemical is called triclosan. What gives, right?
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Triclosan Gives You More Than a Mouthful of Toothpaste
Triclosan is a bioaccumulating environmentally persistent endocrine disruptor, meaning it absorbs at a faster rate than it’s excreted from an organism. It builds up and it’s resistant to degradation in the environment. Endocrine disruptors, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, are “chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” So this chemical, which has an effect on the way our hormonal systems function, is being used in toothpaste. It’s getting into our bodies, water supplies, and environment; building up and staying there to cause even more harm in the long run.
That’s part of the reason the FDA banned the use of triclosan in hand soap. The chemical was previously in antibacterial soaps, but the FDA found that there was no benefit in using anti-bacterial soap over regular soap and water. In fact, it noted that some data indicated triclosan and antibacterials did more harm than good in the long term.
The use of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers has been a hot topic for some time. Bacteria and bugs have evolved to be stronger than the bacteria-fighting chemicals. It’s created super bugs and antibiotic resistant bacteria that spread and affect millions. It’s a problem that kills over 23,000 people every year. Toothpaste is a personal care product that gets used frequently, just like hand soap. Having the same antibacterial chemical, this triclosan toothpaste is likely to contribute to resistant bacteria as well.
Totally Toxic Ingredients Are Not Worth the Long-Term Risks to Your Health
You may be asking yourself, then why is it still in things like toothpaste?! Triclosan is permitted only when a product provides an evidence-based health benefit. This is why it is still used in hospitals. And it’s also why it’s still in Colgate Total toothpaste. Colgate convinced the FDA that triclosan was effective in reducing plaque and gingivitis. But at what cost?
Triclosan was cause for concern when coming into contact with our hands, but brushing your teeth and gums can send this chemical right into your bloodstream. Most people brush their teeth twice a day, some more often than that, so the exposure is frequent. The body bioaccumulates toxic triclosan, absorbing it faster than it excreting it. In addition, triclosan in toothpaste is combined with a copolymer in order to keep the triclosan in your mouth longer.
Do the benefits outweigh the risks of repeated exposure and ingestion of a hormone disrupting chemical? Studies found long-term users of toothpaste with triclosan and fluoride had a 5% reduction in cavities over time. In cases of plaque and gingivitis, there was a 22% reduction, and a 48% reduction of bleeding gums. Actual incidences of periodontitis were not reduced any more than their triclosan-free counterparts. Is that worth the risk of long-term damage, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and environmentally persistent chemicals in our bodies and environment? You tell me.
Colgate Total is Totally Toxic and Endocrine Disrupting
So, are you ready to give your Colgate Total Toothpaste the brush off? Thankfully there are a number of dental care options that don’t involve the triclosan risk. Regular dental visits, flossing, brushing 30 minutes after every meal, and a healthy diet and lifestyle can all help keep your gums healthy.
You can find many effective kinds of toothpaste and powder without this toxic endocrine disruptor. Below we have listed a bunch of options that are preferable. You can find many of these toothpastes available at Thrive Market at a significant discount as well.
Better Toothpaste Brands that Avoid Triclosan
Just in case you are like I was and this brand is in your medicine cabinet, here are some alternative toothpaste brands that avoid triclosan and most endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Please let us know if you use any of these kinds of toothpaste! And if we have forgotten any, please leave your recommendations in the comment section. Thanks!